15 November 2019
By Mary Bermingham
Kinsale was awash with a new generation of foodies this past week as many of the town’s most celebrated restaurants opened up their kitchen doors and let local children in to cook!
Part of the Taste the Island initiative and organised by The Kinsale Good Food Circle, the week-long festival saw over 300 students over five days from November 11th to 15th visit food producers, learn about the importance of nutrition and its long term impact on physical and mental wellbeing, learn about making more sustainable food choices as well as receive first-hand cooking demos from some of Cork’s best-loved chefs at Kinsale Community School, where President Michael D Higgins visited this week. The region’s renowned food heritage and community spirit came alive once more by night – with ‘sold out’ signs across the board for the Kinsale Kids Kitchen Takeover.
“The children are really buzzing from their experiences. The Kinsale Kids Kitchen Takeover was a super idea and such a great way to educate the children but also to get the community working together,” Sinéad Ní Mhurchú, Principal of Gaelscoil Chionn Tsáile said afterwards.
Each day a different school learned about Irish farming and had a mobile farm parked at their school for the day with a series of talks during the day for each class in the school by Agri Aware. Students and teachers from five different schools over five days visited local food producers such as Horizon Farms to learn about the amazing produce on their doorstep. They learned about permaculture, harvested their own ingredients and then cooked the fresh produce at Kinsale College Kitchens and Kinsale Gourmet Academy with renowned Chef David Rice. They filleted fish with Pat O’Connell’s at the English Market and Rob Kenny of Kinsale Yacht Club, learned about Spiced Beef at Tom Duncan Meats and got to understand how the very finest ingredients in the world reach our kitchen tables, all sourced and grown within a one hour radius.
The Takeover was described as the ‘’highlight of the year’’ for students by Jill Horan, Principal of St Multose National School.
Nutritionists Shonagh Harpur, Aisling Kelly and Rachel Lane along with Karl Henry from Operation Transformation, former Munster Rugby star Jonny Holland and Cork Star Briege Corkery, outlined the benefits of eating a healthy diet for each group before everyone was treated to a cooking demonstration from some of the region’s top chefs, including Martin Shanahan, Michelin star chef Paul McDonald as well as well known Good Food Circle Chefs Pearse O Sullivan of The Bulman and Daniel Horgan of Man Friday fame. An exciting food panel discussion on future food trends and sustainable food choices was held with Food Writer Joe McNamee, Food Sustainability Expert Donal Chambers, Pallas Development Chef Colin Greensmith and Healthy Eating Expert Shonagh Harpur.
The unique experience continued into the evening for 10 kids from each school, with many of Kinsale’s finest kitchens – Blue Haven, Actons, Fishy Fishy, Man Friday and Jim Edwards – opening their doors to the Future Foodies and helping them prepare, cook and serve a unique menu on each night of the festival.
“Congratulations on initiating an outstanding project and we are so delighted to be part of it. Rang a 6 were buzzing when they returned full of stories, and these are the days that the children will always remember. Pat the farmer was fantastic as well and so good with the children,” Colette Ní Luasaigh, Principal of Summercove NS.
The Kinsale Kids Kitchen Takeover aimed to provide an in-depth understanding of Ireland’s food industry at a local level, with a focus on sustainability and healthy food choices, under two key pillars, to educate and to inspire. Based on the excitement in every school in Kinsale this week, the festival has certainly inspired and educated the next generation of foodies and food professionals in Ireland’s Foodie Town. The future of food looks brighter than ever in Kinsale.